Update April-May from Senegal

This time it’s only been 4 months since the last update has been published (or at least at the time I start writing this current update).
The last update was written from Tenerife, before going to the Netherlands for a Christmas break.
A lot has happened in the last couple months.
Made it to a cold Netherlands, spend time with family and friends. Enjoyed walks and bike rides.
And although it’s called Holiday, it’s kind of a social Holiday where most of my time was spend with other people, so maybe not as restful and relaxing as I hoped it would be. But knowing that I would be leaving for a while again, it’s good to spend most of that time with family and friends.

Arrived safely back to the GLM (Global Mercy) in Tenerife. Where I got straight back into the craziness of hospital work.
We finished the projects that were scheduled as “equipping projects”.
I’m still trying to finish all the final bits of the projects I’ve worked on over the last year-and-a-half.

Equipping video.
This video shows some of the work we’ve been doing during our time in Tenerife to get the hospital set up and safe for receiving patients.

We faced some IS challenges and have been creative finding creative solutions for different protocols and procedures.
Finished setting up the hospital. Started cleaning the hospital. Held an Hospital Open House for the non-medical crew. I got to tour 2 wonderful groups of people through our brand new hospital.

Friday February 10th we left Tenerife to sail to Senegal.
This was a very special moment as both of our ships (the AFM and the GLM) both left Tenerife shortly after each other and sailed “together” for the first half day.On Saturday February 11th we departed our ways mid-morning. Tuesday February 14th, the GLM arrived safely in Dakar, Senegal.
After a somewhat relaxing, restful weekend, we had the big job to get the Hospital, and for our team the Operating Rooms, ready. More cleaning, sterilizing of
instruments, sorting out equipment and lots of orientation and training. Some evacuation practices to make sure that in case of emergencies and the need to evacuate the ship, we could safely evacuate our hospital and get all our patients off ship safely.

Long days of hard work to have the Operating Rooms ready to receive patients by March 6.
And as a team, we managed to do so.

In the past 2 months we’ve seen many patients come through our Operating Room department.
We’ve used all 6 operating rooms, our holding bay and recovery room.
We always tell each other, there’s a first for everything. And we’ve seen may first in our brand new hospital. There are too many firsts to list them all. So I’ll give you a list with some of the challenges and highlights.
First surgery onboard the Global Mercy 

First time using OR3

First time donating blood and witnessing it being given to a patient.
First free flap surgery within our MaxilloFacial program.
First (un)expected ICU admission
Difficult goodbyes, as we worked together on getting this hospital ready for many months.
It seems that this field service nothing is easy. No simple surgeries, no short surgeries.
Most workdays are long. But seeing the changes in our patients is definetly worth it.
As ship community we celebrated Kingsday. Unfortunately I missed all the games, as our surgery took longer than scheduled. But when our team finally ate dinner at 9 pm we got some frikadel and bitterballen.

There’s still some life happening outside of work.
I’ve spend a weekend in the dessert with some of my friends.

Relaxing. Chatting. Reading. Camel ride. Just being away from the ship for a short time in good company is necessary every now and then.
Celebrated my Birthday with cake and games, and dinner out on the weekend.

Finding balance in spending time with people that come and go, knowing that the goodbyes are harder when you spend more time together. And at the same time seeing the beauty of working together with people from all over the world, knowing that it shouldn’t work but being amazed at how well we work together and how much we share in such a short period of time.
Seeing people coming back after you haven’t seen them for over 3 years. Making new friends.
It’s all part of what we call “ship life”.
Another part of “ship life” is making a decision about what is next.
Do I stay here for another year or do I go home?
And if I decide to stay, do I want to keep my current job, or is it time to switch to something else.
Also, do I stay on the Global Mercy or do I want to move back to the Africa Mercy.
Where are all these decisions based on? Other people, and the decision they make to stay, leave or go back to the AFM? The job that I want to do? What other people would like me to do?
Has the “luxury” on the GLM influence on my decision?

And lastly, summer plans.
How am I going to spend my time off over the summer to get some much needed rest.
Trying to recharge for what’s next.
Spending time with family and friends.
Share stories about work and life onboard.
The current plan is to arrive in the Netherlands July 1st, and spend about 5 weeks in the Netherlands.
From there I’ll travel back to the Global Mercy in Tenerife.
I’ll be “home” for about 5 weeks. It’s not a long time but I hope I get to see some people and get to share some stories. If you’d like to catch up or schedule a presentation for church/ school/ youth group, feel free to reach out to me.




© 2023 | Deddy in Afrika